So, um, it’s hot

People want to believe that the world is a fundamentally fair and stable place. So the more dire the prediction, the more intense the message, the less likely people are to believe, or at least to act on, climate change, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science.

Despite mounting scientific evidence that humans have something to do with climate change, belief in it has cooled among members of the public. Researchers Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer at the University of California, Berkeley found that apocalyptic images, particularly those presenting children as victims, such as a video of a train speeding toward a small girl as a metaphor for climate change, backfired in their intent among certain groups. The researchers found that those with stronger beliefs in a just world were more skeptical of climate change and less willing to reduce their carbon footprint than those who believe the world is fundamentally unfair.

At the same time, both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported last week that 2010 tied 2005 for the hottest year in recorded history. Also this month, the journal Nature reported that, “In 50 years’ time, climate change will have altered some U.S. parks so profoundly that their very names will be anachronisms.” Think Glacier National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, for example.

So maybe, you know, when you have a second, perhaps we should try to do something about it. If you’re not busy or anything. Might be a good idea.